Newton’s third law of motion: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Picture a bird in flight, its wings pushing air down, the air pushing the bird up.
Apply that to what we’ve experienced in the aftermath of the coronavirus and its spread.
There are no easy answers. While getting a movement of freight from Point A to Point B might seem straightforward, a number of factors complicate the situation by a magnitude we’ve rarely experienced. Health endangered, and worse. Production reduced. Economies ⏤ city, state, national, global ⏤ contracted. Now economies are reopening, and we don’t yet know at the expense of what.
Our best guess for where this goes, as our VP Cori Eckley said recently, is a delicate balance between “wanting to return to work, needing to return to work, and being able to do so.”
Transport Topics has an interesting perspective. It interviewed a number of business leaders for a story, aptly titled “What the New Normal for Trucking Will Be Remains a Question.” Mike Branch of Geotab, which provides analytics for the transportation industry, said this:
“If I’m looking at the health of the economy, the two industries I want to make sure are pretty strong are freight transportation and manufacturing. If I’m seeing manufacturing fairly strong, and if I’m seeing freight transportation fairly strong, I feel comfortable. With the exception of non-freight transportation, all the other industries that we’re tracking are on that slow upward trend to recovery. Many have almost recovered to their pre-COVID norms.”
Branch thinks “it’s going to impact different industries in different ways. Some will be more greatly impacted than others. And we clearly see that, even in the data.
This “new normal” would be reassuring, if it weren’t for upticks in the number of new coronavirus cases throughout the United States and what looks like a strong breakout in the Southern Hemisphere.
So, “normal” keeps getting redefined. We may very well discover there’s no such thing as normal.